On the surface, the adventures of a stoic monster-hunting hero exploring a grim fantasy world of dark magic and ancient lore might have little in common with a game like Destiny 2. But, when you look closer, it’s apparent that Destiny 2 and CD Projekt Red’s long-running The Witcher series have more in common than you might think.
After all, transplant dual-blade-wielding Geralt of Rivia into the far future, and it’s reasonable to assume that he’d be right at home in the role of a Guardian. Intent on hunting down the enemies of humanity? Check. Access to an impressive arsenal of weaponry and otherworldly powers drawn from mysterious sources? Yep. A slew of challenging enemies and a deep trove of worldbuilding that add life and color to the adventures? In both cases, a resounding yes.
Today, with the start of Season of the Wish in Destiny 2, Bungie is launching a new set of items inspired by The Witcher, including three new sets of armor ornaments (one for each Guardian class), new accessories, and more. When creating these items, the Bungie team worked closely with CDPR to bring authentic touches of Geralt’s world into Destiny 2.
“CDPR were excellent creative partners to collaborate with,” said Destiny 2 Art Lead Josh Deeb. “They came to the table ready with ideas that started with Destiny 2 at their core and built authentically onto that framework with iconic Witcher visuals.”
“Destiny is known for its futuristic look. When it came to what we could bring to that world, I think it was the opportunity to fuse it with low fantasy elements,” said Przemysław Juszczyk, CDPR’s head of franchise art. “We focused the design process on introducing more combinations of leather padding, belts, thick fabrics, and chain mails with metal accents similar to those in The Witcher franchise.”
“Witchers are known for their proficiency in hunting and killing monsters,” continued Juszczyk. “Every armor has to scream that it’s ready to deal with that type of encounter. We also included iconic Witcher elements: looking closer, you can spot the wolf medallion, two swords, Glagolitic script inscriptions. All this got the Destiny spin from talented Bungie artists. Even if everything is happening in a cosmic reality, I believe the spirit of The Witcher is present in every item introduced in our collaboration.”
Each of the three new armor sets was inspired by armor donned by Geralt in The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt.
“The goal was to empower our players to feel like true witchers in Destiny 2,” said Deeb. “Using armor designs inspired by the witcher schools (Bear, Wolf, and Viper) enabled us to create silhouettes that immediately bring this fantasy to life, complete with steel and silver swords.”
Of course, for fans, the devil is in the armor’s details. That’s where the Bungie team got a chance to flex their creative muscles and have some fun bringing the details to life. “The goal for all the sets was to get that Witcher medieval look with damage to show these armors have gone through battles already,” said Joel Moran, art outsourcing specialist with Destiny 2. “I think most of the fun details were probably on the swords. We all had to sync and work together to get these to look similar across all sets.”
While those twin swords aren’t usable as weapons in the game, they add to the pervasive Witcher vibe that the Bungie team took seriously. “The problems began cropping up when it came to scaling them so they didn’t look like toys, maintaining the fiction that they could be drawn from their scabbards,” said Destiny 2 Senior Artist Jay Rios. “We also needed to make sure that they weren’t so long that they started interfering with our cloth animation simulations. Finding the right balance between scale, position, length, and technical hurdles certainly made the swords challenging, but I think we did a good job.”
Hunters will take to battle in the new White Wolf set. Inspired by Geralt’s Legendary Wolven armor set, this set features the Hunter’s trademark hood and crossed straps on the chest piece, plus studded leather gauntlets, among other details.
“During the production for the Hunter armor, we noticed that the small crossbow (a cosmetic detail that sits on the Hunter’s thigh) was too simple, and we all wanted it to look better with more material variation and more interesting shapes,” said Moran. “I had the pleasure of sketching some solutions with the CDPR team’s direction and using other reference images from other pieces we were working on, such as the Sparrow, since it had the layered wood and metal look the team at CDPR wanted on the crossbow. We sent different versions of the crossbow to them and additional changes were made per their request until we were all happy with the results.”
Just as Geralt is a master of elixirs and magical signs, Warlocks plumb the mysteries of Destiny’s worlds. They’ll do so in style in the new Hexer set, which finds its influence in Geralt’s Legendary Ursine armor. With fur trim and ample padding throughout, this is a set that’s suitable for the harshest environments the game has to offer.
“It was about getting the materials and colors to bring The Witcher side of [each armor set] to life,” said Rios. “The use of fur, leather, quilted padding, and chainmail pushed the medieval-inspired fantasy. As for the Destiny aesthetic, that was more about iconic shapes within our armor sets. Trying to match iconic silhouettes for the classes became important and having all the class items represented helped tie the look to Destiny.”
Sometimes the best way around a problem is straight through. It may be the unofficial tagline for Titans and the new Kaer Morhen armor set is designed for that head-first approach. Named for the stronghold that serves as training grounds and headquarters for witchers and modeled after the Viper School armor, this set is as solid and straightforward as a punch to the throat. In other words, just how Titans like it.
“It was important to CD Projekt Red that all the helmets have deep asymmetrical gouges and scarring on them,” said Rios. “At the end of the day I think that gave them all some more character, but making sure that each scarring was unique was an interesting challenge.”
Beyond the trio of armor sets, Witcher fans will also find three new accessories inspired by the world of Geralt, including a new ship, the Wolven Storm, as well as the Wolven Shell Ghost shell. There’s also the new Roach-VGH Sparrow, complete with Glagolitic inscriptions, a large Vex skull tied up on the side of the vehicle (presumably for bounty collection later), and an Igni sign thruster effect.
Bungie VFX Artist Amanda Golla worked on the Igni effect for the Sparrow’s trail, among other contributions to the collaboration. As a big Witcher fan herself, Golla spent a great deal of time and care on getting those Igni effects just right for the Sparrow. “The Igni trail itself is a reference to Igni’s alternative sign mode, where the player shoots a straight blast of fire towards their enemies. The [Sparrow’s trail effect] was particularly difficult since the sparks go in a linear direction, but the Sparrow is designed to curve and turn. I had to combine short core sparks that are completely straight with a longer trail of sparks with varied direction to make the sparks feel like they followed the Sparrow and kept their directional velocity.”
Whether getting the details of the steel and silver swords just right or capturing the correct motion of dipping into the bathtub for a new Tub Time emote, the Bungie team has worked hard to bring the look and feel of The Witcher into Destiny 2. You can check out all these items for yourself starting today in the Eververse Store, launching alongside Season of the Wish on all platforms.